Board of Education Discusses 2020–2021 School Year Calendar; Takes Tentative Action on Policy IDA; Receives Update on the 2019 Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Strategic Plan; and Receives Update on Districtwide Boundary Analysis

October 10, 2019

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) met on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.  During the meeting, the Board received an update and discussed options for the 2020–2021 school year calendar; took tentative action on Policy IDA, School Year Calendar; approved the 2019 Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Strategic Plan; discussed next steps for the districtwide boundary analysis; and took action on awarding credit for participating in interscholastic athletic program.

The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

2020–2021 School Year Calendar

The Board received a presentation regarding the development of the 2020–2021 school year calendar.

An internal work group of staff from a wide range of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) offices and departments worked to develop the instructional calendar framework. This group worked through a range of possible scenarios that would include and ensure compliance with the minimum instructional day and credit hour requirements (180-day minimum), contingencies for inclement weather and other emergencies, alignment with assessment schedules, and school closures mandated by state law.

Staff also met with stakeholders to gather initial feedback and input on the calendar and the draft scenarios. These initial conversations have included: employee associations and representatives; Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals Joint Collaboration Committee; Innovative School Year Implementation Group; advocacy groups; Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, Inc.; and the Student Advisory Council.  Several scenarios were also presented to and considered by the Policy Management Committee of the Board in September 2019.

Five scenarios were presented to the Board. All scenarios include the following elements:

Spring Break: All calendar scenarios include what has been the typical, full length spring break for MCPS. This is six total noninstructional days, one full week plus the Monday after Easter, and two weekends.

Contingency Days: All scenarios meet the Code of Maryland Regulations requirements to demonstrate the possibility of modifying the calendar to make up instruction during the year and to extend the school year by three days if needed.

Professional Days: All scenarios return to the previous practice of scheduling a full noninstructional day for professional development and grading and planning time at the end of each quarter.

Some of the scenarios presented proposed that MCPS would remain open on January 20, 2021, Inauguration Day.  The Board discussed the impact of this on students and staff.  Staff are working to prepare the final scenarios that the Board would like to put forward for public comment. The Board will seek community feedback regarding the options prior to taking any action.

In addition to the 2020–2021 school year calendar, the Board discussed the innovative school year calendar for Arcola and Roscoe Nix elementary schools.

The Board and staff members will continue to seek input from stakeholders in consideration of the recommended traditional school year calendar and the innovative school year calendar.  It is anticipated that both calendars will come before the Board for final approval later this fall.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Tentative Action, Policy IDA, School Year Calendar

If, after public comment on the calendar option, the Board decides to implement an option that requires opening schools on Inauguration Day, Policy IDA, School Year Calendar, will need to be revised to remove the requirement that schools be closed on Inauguration Day and instead include permissive language. Therefore, the Policy Management Committee recommended the following proposed language in Board Policy IDA be approved for Tentative Action and sent out for public comment:

 • Current: “When the day of a Presidential Inauguration falls on a school day, that day shall be designated as a MCPS system holiday.” 

• Proposed: “When the day of a Presidential Inauguration falls on a school day, that day may be designated as an MCPS system holiday upon consideration of other factors impacting the school calendar during the year of an Inauguration such as the first and last day of school, the day of the week for the Inauguration, and other mandated holidays during the school year.”

After reviewing and discussing the proposed changes, the Board took tentative action and voted to send the policy out for public comment.

Read the draft policy

2019 Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Strategic Plan

The Board received a presentation and held a discussion on the 2019 Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Strategic Plan. In 2019, all Maryland local school systems transitioned to the new Local Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) Consolidated Strategic Plan for accountability, reporting, and school improvement. School systems are required to submit a plan to improve outcomes for all students. The plan should include goals, objectives, and strategies/evidence-based interventions to promote academic excellence among all students to address areas of focus based on the analysis of state standardized data. Additionally, the plan should include detailed summaries of the alignment between the current year approved budget, prior year actual budget, and the Local ESSA Consolidated Strategic Plan and objectives. MCPS’ consolidated strategic plan includes an executive summary, a finance section, areas of focus, COMAR reporting requirements, and federal and state grant applications. The Board approved the MCPS final submission of the 2019 Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Strategic Plan.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Districtwide Boundary Analysis

The Board received an update on the Districtwide Boundary Analysis. On January 8, 2019, the Board of Education adopted Resolution No. 36-19: Boundary Assessment Study, which authorized a comprehensive analysis and review of school and cluster boundaries in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). During late winter and spring 2019, staff conducted a feedback and input process on the scope of services for the analysis, at the direction of the Board of Education. On August 29, 2019, following a competitive Request for Proposals solicitation process and extensive review, the Board of Education adopted Resolution No. 464-19: Award of Contract—Districtwide Boundary Analysis, awarding the contract to WXY + architecture + urban design.

The Board received an update on the status of the work with WXY + architecture + urban design which included the elements to plan out the scope and time lines of the project work plan, as well as the communication and engagement plan. The Board specified its intent to receive public comment on the Districtwide Boundary Analysis in conjunction with the review time line for the Capital Improvements Program in fall 2019 and set Monday, November 18, 2019, as a public hearing date to receive comments on the districtwide boundary analysis.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Previous New Business; Awarding Academic Credit for Participation in MCPS High School Interscholastic Athletic Program

The Board voted to direct the superintendent of schools to explore opportunities for curriculum changes and/or changes to the high school graduation requirements that provides MCPS’ students with the option to earn academic credit for participation in MCPS Interscholastic Athletic Programs with specific consideration regarding whether the additional one-half physical education credit required by MCPS for graduation could be satisfied by participation in such programs. The Board has asked the superintendent of schools to provide recommendations to the Board by February 2020.

Read the Memorandum


The Board approved the resolution recognizing October 21-25 as National School Bus Safety Week.

Future Meetings

The Board of Education will hold its next regular business meeting Monday, October 28, 2019.  Please check the Board of Education website and meeting calendar for further information. 

About the Board of Education
The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Ms. Jeanette E. Dixon, Dr. Judith Docca, Ms. Karla Silvestre, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, Ms. Brenda Wolff, and Mr. Nathaniel Tinbite, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030.


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